“We eat with our eyes first.” Yet, it is our tongue that will savor the sweetness, sense the heat in the spicy, retract from the sour, alert us to the bitter and salivate with the savory. So, what role might our eyes play to help us win or lose in game of nutrition? Close your eyes and think about your favorite food. Do you just taste it, or do you see it? Does simply seeing it cause you to salivate at the thought of taking that first bite? Yes! We eat with our eyes first. So, I encourage you to play the game to win!
These mandarins came in a utilitarian netted bag, designed to bring the fruit to market and then to the consumer, in this case, my family. But maybe less utilitarian than you thought, as the nets that pack orange citrus are always orange or red. Just as the nets that pack avocados are green. The packaging is designed to enhance the appeal of the product, to hide the minor blemishes. In the case of the citrus, it appears to be a more vibrant orange, the avocados, a perfectly ripe green. Even the vendors know, that as we make our purchases, we are eating with our eyes.
So as a self-proclaimed ‘nutrition gamer’ (I really am a certified Nutrition Coach) here are a few gaming tips:
In your fridge, the healthy stuff needs to be at eye level. Buy in a variety of vibrant colors. Keep it easily accessible. This includes not keeping all your produce in what I call the compost drawer, because seriously, when was the last time you put something in there and it came out crisper? Well then, what goes in the drawer you ask? Turn it into the condiment drawer, where all the high calorie, fat laden add-ons go. Believe me, you won’t forget they are in there, but they won’t always be in your face. Or you can use a drawer for laying canned drinks or bottles on their sides. Not only will it keep them from getting knocked out of the fridge and making a mess, but why give those items prime real estate in your fridge. Location, location… location.
Outside of the fridge, keep healthy snacks easily in reach and appealing to the eye. Take things out of their “marketing packaging” so you can grab and go snack. Like these mandarins, having them in an attractive bowl also serves the purpose of being decorative. Extra “busy mom” points there. Don’t have the empty calorie snacks sitting out to entice you every time you enter the kitchen. They don’t get the prime real estate of your counter.
Same rules for the fridge, apply to your pantry. Healthy stuff at eye level, and remember, yours may not be the only eyes that look in the pantry. If you must have unhealthy snacks for when you are craving that treat, put it/them way up high or way down low and towards the back, so you have to go to extra trouble to get to it. Portion it out in appropriately sized airtight containers. No throw-aways! Be kind to the environment! If you don’t portion it, you will suddenly find an empty bag in your lap and if you were to read the nutrition label, it states that there were 8 servings that you just unceremoniously inhaled.
When plating your food, get into the social media mindset. Challenge yourself to get as many people as possible asking for the recipe or giving you a positive reaction because your meal “looked” so delicious. Even if you never post it, take a pic of it for yourself… you keeping you accountable.
My top tip: I’m not going to tell you to never to buy anything other than perfectly nutritious foods, but when you shop, never add more than one of those types of items to your cart. If you want more; note the price, leave it on the shelf and go home and put the money you would have spent into a “cash stash.” When it’s time to change the clocks back or forward, calculate your stash and before you know it, you will have enough to treat yourself to a new smaller size clothing item! Ain’t gonna lie, I want “junk” all the time, but not “junk in the trunk”! So, if I stick this plan, my stash should come out to be enough for a nice little vacation! Alooooooooooha!
Contributing writer Denise Lum is a Health and Fitness Coach raising her family in Alameda. Contact her via [email protected] or FitnessByDsign.com. Her writing is collected at AlamedaPost.com/Denise-Lum/.